THE HIGH PRIESTESS
The fool’s journey
The next person The Fool meets on his journey is an empowered woman, shrouded in the mystery of night, seated between two pillars. Her personality is more calm and introverted than The Magicians, but she glows with a light that could be originating from the moon at her feet, but most likely is shining from within.
When The Fool speaks to her, she already knows the questions he has before he asks them, and she replies to him as if she knows him better than he knows himself. Impressed, The Fool lays out the tools The Magician had revealed to him, and asks, “I have all of these tools, but I don’t know what to do with them. Can you help me?”
Before he even finishes the question, The High Priestess reaches forward and presents him with a scroll. “I could tell you, but these scrolls will help you understand what you already know, and will give you the answers you seek.”
The Fool sits at her feet, and reads what has been written, illuminated by The High Priestess’s moon-like light. Finally, The Fool knows what he wants, what he’ll do, and where he’ll go. He gives back the scrolls and looks deeply into The High Priestess’s eyes, with the knowledge that she has so many more deep secrets she could teach him. He wonders what could be behind the pomegranate curtain between the pillars, and how this woman could have so much deep knowledge about the universe.
But he also understands that, in good time, these secrets will be revealed to him. As he has this thought, The High Priestess gives him a knowing smile. As The Fool leaves, he hears her quietly wish him the best on his journey, as she says, “You’ll be back to sit at my feet again, when you’re ready to travel the most sacred path of all.”
While the story of The Magician was all about channeling external power to discover and implement your sacred gifts, The High Priestess’s story is about the all-knowing power within you. When she shows up in your readings, it’s because the answers you seek are already within you, and she is inviting you to look deep inside of yourself to find them. If you are reading for someone else, The High Priestess can be the most difficult card in the entirety of the deck to interpret, because it’s the inner voice that has the answer, and as a reader you don’t always have direct access to hear the inner voice of someone else.
The High Priestess is also the most spiritual card of the deck, so many of her interpretations could be religious in nature, depending on your beliefs.
The High Priestess is steeped in symbols. In almost every deck, there is a symbol of balance and secrets, and in the Rider-Waite, this is represented with two pillars and the veil strung in between. Without balance, there can be no power. All of the answers of the universe, the hows and inner workings that The Magician didn’t care about, are behind that veil. The veil is the most spiritual path of all, but seeing behind it requires that you be ready to take that path. Are you? Or are you seeking answers to some other question by tapping into just a piece of what is behind the mysteries?
Psychic wisdom and intuition, as symbolized by the moon at The High Priestess’s feet, are also a major theme in the story of this card. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise when The High Priestess shows up in a psychic reading, representing psychic readings.
The theme of dualism is also present in The High Priestess. She balances opposites; that’s true, but she also is able to keep opposing forces separate. Her secrets may be the main reason for her appearance, so as a reader, it’s important to consider the possibility that someone or something, even the universe, may be hiding something from you. There may be subjects that are not ready to be discussed, or things that Spirit is respecting in terms of someone not wanting something to be revealed. The High Priestess has a darker side, just like we all do. Her shadow self is just as powerful and strong as her softer side, although it is controlled, loved, and in balance.
Sometimes, she invites you to simply sit at her feet and learn how to balance these sides of yourself: success through inaction.